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About kapeka

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  1. Talk about awkward moments- on our last cruise in September we were at a table for eight. Early on in the introductions we began to realize that the other six at the table were family and related to each other-- actually three sisters and their husbands. Apparently a fourth sister (yes, a large family- one brother who wasn't part of the group) cancelled at the last minute and we were "substituted" for them at the table I guess. I must admit I thought "oh, good grief.. we're going to be bombarded with Aunt Louise stories" or whatever. Could not have been more wrong. Wonderful people, minimal family talk but lots of good conversation on other things. At the end of the week, they were calling me by the "missing sisters" name and wanted to know if we'd like to join in the drawing for family Christmas gift names (in jest of course). Turned out to be one of our best dining tables...so you just never can tell! They obviously went out of their way to make us comfortable and we so much appreciated it. Our theory is get to the table with an open mind and it usually works out. Worse case-- do alternative dining, request a table change, whatever. Our experiences has been very positive. This last one was just a bit unique.... we truly felt very lucky with this group. The ladies were of Italian heritage, the husbands mostly Italian with a little of this and that- my DH's heritage is Lithuanian/Lebanese (find another one of those!) and I'm Irish/Welsh. They thought it was great to have a little more ethnicity brought into the family!
  2. Congratulations!! Always nice to be recognized for hard work. well deserved.....
  3. We did the canal cruise in early Dec. of 2003. I would say that because it's a longer cruise (full transit- 14 days) you do get an older crowd. And-- because we went before the Christmas holidays and before school let out for most-- definately an older crowd. I felt sorry for the few kids onboard because they were few and far betwen. We were told that the next week (Christmas week) they were expecting 600 children....so you need to think about what your preference for shipmates is. We thought it was a great experience. The amazing engineering of the canal and the history were most important to us. The book "Path Between the Seas" -- although not an easy read-- will really help you appreciate the sacrifices made by many to make the canal a reality. At least it did for me. In my own opinion-- I don't know that you can fully appreciate the experience going on a Florida round-trip versus a San Diego or LA to (or reverse) itin. There is something about going up the locks -- then down-- that really is an experience. Wtih that said- if you can't do the full transit, a partial is better than none. However if you can, please take the time to read the history of that monumental enginneering genius-- considering all the challenges...it's amazing.
  4. We're good for nine....321!!! :grin:
  5. Once we've made final payment- I start saving all my $1 bills. I don't spend any and every week-end I take them out of my wallet and put them aside. Then when do leave we've got lots of $1's for the porters, taxis, etc. And onboard we always give room serivce a few as well- and it's nice to have enough set aside! The other thing I TRY and do is lose 5 lbs before leaving. I weigh myself the day of final payment and that's the benchmark. Not always successful, but usually at least a few so I can enjoy more! :undecided:
  6. We don't intentionally pack 1/2- 1/2- however we have one garment bag we share so I guess you could say we do somewhat. On our trip last month I started to pack at 6pm for an 11pm flight so at that point- what the heck! In general my motto is "I can always find an excuse to shop" :grin: so if my bag is delayed....won't ruin my trip. I'll share two somewhat horror stories- one mine, one someone elses. To start with someone elses- last month when we got off the Enchantment in Boston (beautiful ship bty) and took the RCCL bus to the airport I saw something almost beyond belief. A lady got off the bus with her rather elderly mother and then while getting a wheelchair and putting mother in it---- the bus took off! (with their bags!) I felt awful for her and don't know how she ever resolved it. So be careful if you're traveling with someone that needs attention as soon as you disembark from any type of transportation- be sure no one takes off on you with your bags. now for my admission of stupidity. We were going on a 7 day Mexcian Riveria out of San Francisco last March and flying from Portland to SFO the day before -- arriving at the port a day before departure which is an absolute requirement for us. We put all the bags EXCEPT ONE in the trunk. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I dropped DH off with "all the bags" FROM THE TRUNK so he could check them with the skycap and then I went to park the car and return to the terminal. When I returned to the terminal, we had plenty of time, had a bite to eat, etc. Of course it was as the flight was pushing back from the gate that I remembered that I left my larger carry on (which was in the back seat and overlooked) in the car. We were too late to turn back but I was able to resolve it from SFO with a fax request for someone to have the Port Police "break into" the car and then send me the bag before we left. (I do have some contacts at the airport- without that I think I would have been totally out of luck). Talk about a stressful start! Learned two things from this- 1- never put just ONE bag in a place-put them all together and if that's not possible put the extra one at your feet so you don't forget it and 2- always carry a copy of what prescription medication you take on your person (in your wallet, purse, whatever- something you never part with). All my meds (more than I want to admit!) were in that carry on so I was really concerned. I found out from a pharmacy in SFO that if I had copies of my med requirements they could verify it with my dr's office via telephone and sell me a 7 day supply. This of course is if they are not a "controlled substance" -- which by that time I was ready for however it wasn't on the list! :shocked:
  7. It somewhat depends on the cruise- if it's a last minute "on the cheap"- I'll be happy to be on the ship...wherever it is. However- if it's a special occasion cruise (anniversary or birthday- and believe it or not- the birthday is the same for both of us- yes, we have the same birthday- how convenient is that?) then I will pay more to book early and get the location and cabin that I want. It's pretty much up to me-- DH just lets me do all the planning which is fine for me. I show him the deck plan in the brochure and he says "okay"-- such an agreeable man! We just did the Enchantment of the Seas Northeast/Canada 7 night itin last month. We had an aft Junior Suite that I think we paid a bit dearly for-but worth every penny. I booked it in January and the price actually went up before we left so I didn't feel like I was being too taken advantage of. However- we're paying less for an 11 night Mexican cruise this Dec. No aft bacony, however this ship (Celebrity Mercury) doesn't have aft balconies so what can you do? We're getting a concierge class cabin with a small balcony-- but I say go and enjoy..and trust me, we will! I'm with the group of folks that say- any day on a cruise ship is better than a day at work-- and that is true no matter what the cabin is. Of course- some cabins (and cruises) are better than others- but they are all good in my book.
  8. mysticks- first off, I feel bad for you. Even with all the "it could be worse" stuff that's going on- you've most likely been looking forward to this and now--?? by any chance- do you have a consumer advocate television show or newspaper writer in your area? The last thing anyone wants is bad press. It seems to me you've been put between the proverbial "rock and hard place" and need someone to be an advocate for you. And the media is a powerful force. I know we have a local news station that goes to bat for people having consumer issues- any hope for that there? Only other option I can think of is contacting CLIA (Cruise Line Industry Association -- or something like that--) most travel agents belong to CLIA and have to be certified etc to sell cruises. It's a long shot- but maybe they could help you? Do a google for CLIA and see what pops up. You may want to see if you can find the website for your now MIA agency and find out if they are CLIA members first. good luck-- my advice is DO NOT TURN IN THE TOWEL! Keep trying!
  9. Joey- thanks for the warm welcome! I must admit I've never done a day rate in Fort Lauderdale. I've done them in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles- all of which have more business travel than Fort Lauderdale does (I would think anyway). Maybe they don't offer them in Fort Lauderdale area as people don't check out as early. Either way- we always go the day before the cruise. Just to be sure we're there, our luggage is with us, etc. It's just part of the trip for us and we know lots of people that go the day of and do okay- guess we just don't want to take a chance.
  10. Thanks for the warm welcome-- I like it here :cool:
  11. newbie here, (not to cruising, but to this board) and looking for a new cruise board home and perhaps I've found it. You folks seem so friendly and non-judgemental. Nuff said. sorry, I can't address the beach issue...however I'm hoping I can hopefully give some suggestions on the hotel question. many hotels in large cities offer what's known as a "day rate." Pretty much designed for the red-eye traveler that needs a place to crash, shower, change clothes, etc- usually at a fairly attractive price. Depending on the property, you could check in at 7am and out as late as 3pm-- showered and freshened up and perhaps even a nap. this same room will, of course, probably be occupied that evening by someone else. The hotel comes out ahead of the deal-- and at least for myself that's one shower I'm happy to pay for. As we say in our house-- we need to "wash the airplane off". call various hotels in the area ask for the "day rate"- or perhaps do a google search for "day rates" in the area. (you may get some interesting responses......trust me, I've only used this rate to recover from long overnight flights.... :rolleyes: )
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